Eton Mess has become one of my all-time favorite summer desserts – and certainly one I fall back on regularly simply for its ease of preparation. A simple jumble of crumbled meringues, saucy fruit and cream (or in this case, vanilla yogurt), an Eton Mess is also perfect served in individual jars – great for a backyard barbecue, party or picnic. They’ll make everyone happy – kids and grown-ups alike – and make a delicious gluten-free option.
Eton Mess – made famous at Eton College in the UK – is perhaps one of the simplest desserts you could make, and doesn’t even require a formula per se. Start with meringues – store-bought, or home-made. Crumble one or two into the bottom of each individual jar.
Then you’ll need some fruit – juicy berries are traditional, tossed with sugar or simmered into a compote of sorts. The saucier the better, I think. Add sugar to taste to berries, rhubarb, blueberries, peaches – any fruit in season, and simmer until the berries pop or the fruit softens. Cool completely and layer some on top. (To cheat: buy frozen berries in syrup, and simply thaw them.)
This version is made with thick vanilla yogurt, but you could swap it for the more traditional heavy whipped cream.
Dollop some yogurt or cream on top. If you have room, you can layer the three all over again. Just make sure you have room to close the jar, if you want to.
Leave them open and serve immediately, or seal them closed and set out in a big wide bucket or bowlful of ice to keep them cold until guests are ready for them.